Reauthorization Moves: First Officers Will Need 1,500 Hours

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It seems first officers on commercial flights will need 1,500 flight hours before they're considered for the job. The 1,500-hour limit is a victory for the families of passengers lost when Continental Flight 3407 crashed in Clarence Center, N.Y., killing all aboard and one on the ground. The limit, which now appears resolved, had been one of a few sticking points between Senate and House versions of the bill, which must be fully reconciled before the bill is passed. Meanwhile, the Buffalo News reported Wednesday that the final bill "is likely to include" a provision to set up "a pilot hiring database so that airlines will know the experience of the pilots they are employing," but details are limited.

Congress is closing in on the three-years-overdue mark when it comes to formally approving the law that finances the FAA. The delay has posed logistical planning challenges for the FAA, which has been operating under a series of temporary extensions, the latest of which is set to expire at month's end. The bill should clarify funding parameters, providing the FAA with the ability to better plan NextGen development.